JAPAN SNOWSPORTS – #3 PREPARATION
We realize it’s been a while…You must be thinking we got stuck at the demolition part. Luckily this is not the case. Although we are already a few steps further than this blog indicates (no really!), we like you take you back to the preparation phase.
On a side not and in case you are wondering: the lodge survived the Typhoon. Since Madarao is on 900 m elevation we didn’t get affected much apart from hard wind and rain. However, the valley did suffer from huge floodings and landslides. We would like to express deep respect to all the rescue workers and volunteers who are still cleaning up the mess Hagibis left behind.
Back to the Lodge….
Now that the major surprises were faced and a master plan was made, it was time to start building op the ground floor. The overall plan: The entire ground floor will become a common area where daily breakfast will be served. A long table in the middle will facilitate space for all guests. The dining space and additional lounge will be separated by a fireplace. Next to the kitchen, there will be a play/movie room.
Being a chef himself, Dutchie could not run a lodge without serving food. Because he will be out on the slopes he will not be able to run the kitchen himself. Therefore, Merel, our friend from the Netherlands will help us out in the lodge as well as in the kitchen. Merel has learned cooking on the job in various well-known restaurants in Amsterdam. Next to that, she runs her own catering company. One of her specialities is baking bread. With her experience baking organic, slow-rise sourdough bread. We will serve homemade bread with breakfast on a daily base.
Dinners will not be served daily but on a regular base and per request The restaurant will also be open for guests from outside the lodge (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations!). Similar to breakfast, dining will be done altogether around a long table that fits 20 guests. No need to worry about what to choose from the menu, because a chef’s menu will be served. Imagine a 6-course meal, with cross-cultural food, local wines and sake and good company. What else can you wish for after a long day on the slopes…..
Sorry..I got carried away daydreaming about the finish line. I can just totally see myself sitting there, zipping my wine next to the fireplace….
Time to wake up! Although it’s good to keep an eye on the dot on the horizon, we are not there yet!
Dutchie has been renovating houses before and of course, there is me (read: clumsy and slightly uncoordinated) to help out wherever I can. However, this wasn’t a project he could take on by himself. Therefore, a big task during this period was to find people that could help us and collect quotes from them.
People who have experience in renovating most probably know that the first stage of building up is to prepare everything. A very important, but one of the least satisfying jobs since everything you do will not be visible when it’s all finished. After taking out the entire floor we discovered the old piping in the concrete hovering in big holes and many random holes that we didn’t know the purpose of. Nice and breezy and moist under your feet in winter. After a few hours of grinding and many disks later to remove all the old steel piping, it was time to get the concrete mill turning for a few days to fill all holes and level the floor.
We removed all the cladding on the walls and removed a few walls entirely. Armed with a specula and many bags of filler, we smoothed everything out… ready for the next layer! Working on the walls we discovered a few concrete walls were wet due to being underground with lots of water pressing from the outside. After a few failed attempts, we eventually got the right product to waterproof the concrete. Oh yeah, did I mentioned the 4 days on a ladder to remove the foam that was sprayed on the ceiling on the entire ground floor? At least Dutchie could finally dress up:
When you looked up in the kitchen you travel back in time. Six layers of paint peeling off in different degrees. Two days of choking on dust brought it back to bare concrete again.
Fuji Rock Festival
Whoever finds him or herself in Japan in July should definitely consider going to the 3 days international Fuji Rock Festival. Fuji Rock was held for the first time in 1997. Naeba Ski resort is hosting it since ‘99. Naeba is one of the resorts close to Echigo-Yuzawa. On the lineup, this year you would find names like The Chemical Brothers, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Lumineers and many others. Although, we didn’t see any of these three since we only went to the free night on Thursday night…You’ve got to set priorities you know! It was still a great night with an awesome atmosphere and we definitely will go for the entire festival if we are in Japan next year!
A typical festival snack you see a lot on Japanese festivals is Fish on a Stick (see picture above). As a matter of fact: we happen to know the guy who you see working behind this stand. Our friend and former boss Patrick (Snowcountry Instructors) helps out his brother in law and owner of the Takahan Ryokan every year, selling thousands of fishes a day! Takahan is the oldest Ryokan in town and beautifully located. Definitely worth staying at if you are visiting lively Yuzawa.
In our coming episode, we will write about: floors and walls! Stay tuned and leave a comment if you like.